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Car of the Year Awards 2023: Estate Car of the Year

While estates lack the fashionable status of SUVs, they’re more practical. But an estate also needs to be a pleasure to spend time in, and easy to live with beyond the simple virtue of space...

WINNER: Estate Car of the Year

Skoda Superb Estate 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

Car of the Year 2023 main logo

If you're trying to bang a nail in, you use a hammer. A screwdriver can’t be beaten for driving in screws. And if you need to carry four adults and a big stack of luggage from place A to place B, nothing is better suited than the Skoda Superb Estate. It’s the right tool for the job.

The Superb beats some extremely talented rivals to the Estate Car of the Year title, simply because it’s the best at being an estate. If you’ve elected to buy one instead of a saloon or hatchback, you’re likely to have made that decision on the basis of practicality, and the Superb outperforms all comers in that regard.

Estate Car of the Year 2023 - Skoda Superb Estate boot

We managed to fit a staggering 11 carry-on suitcases in its boot without removing the parcel shelf – enough for a family of five to take a pretty varied wardrobe on holiday. To put that in context, the BMW 5 Series Touring – a longer, pricier car – can take eight.

But don’t go thinking the Superb is in any way utilitarian, because it’s an extremely civilised way to travel. For starters, the interior quality runs a good few premium-badged rivals very close. Secondly, it’s almost unbelievably spacious. If you spent a load more money and bought a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class, you wouldn’t gain usefully more rear leg room and you’d have to leave a lot of your luggage at home. The Superb allows adults in the rear to stretch out, limo-style.

Although you’re paying economy-class money, you’re getting something approaching first-class comfort. Long motorway trips leave foreheads unfurrowed, thanks to soft suspension that soaks up bumps with ease and provides a composed ride at higher speeds. Slumbering passengers are unlikely to be woken by noise, either, thanks to the hushed engines.

Estate Car of the Year 2023 - Skoda Superb Estate side

If the Superb Estate falls short anywhere, it’s on driver appeal – the BMW 3 Series Touring is the undisputed champion here – but steering the Superb is far from a chore. It’s a tidy, reassuring handler, and none of the engines is short on power. The entry-level 1.5-litre petrol is all you need, and with its 42.7mpg official economy, it won’t cost you a fortune to run. Meanwhile, SE L trim comes stuffed with kit, including an electrically operated tailgate for even more practicality.

If the Superb Estate were a tool, it’d be a Black and Decker Workmate in a plushly upholstered carry case – endlessly versatile and a joy to use.

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